Paul-Boucher civil trial ends

Rene Boucher (right) and his attorney Matt Baker are seen Wednesday, January 30, 2019, during the final day of the civil trial involving Boucher and U.S. Sen. Rand Paul in Warren Circuit Court. (Bac Totrong/photo@bgdailynews.com)

The federal government has been granted an extension of time to file its response to Rene Boucher’s appeal of his 30-day prison sentence, which he has asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review.

U.S. Solicitor General Noel Francisco had requested an extension ahead of Friday’s deadline to file his response, saying in a Jan. 31 filing that the attorneys responsible for preparing the government’s response “have been heavily engaged with the press of previously assigned matters with proximate due dates.”

Though he has served the jail time, paid a $10,000 fine and performed 100 hours of community service for his conviction of assaulting a member of Congress stemming from the 2017 tackling of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul outside his home in Rivergreen subdivision, Boucher remains in a state of legal limbo.

Federal prosecutors had asked for a 21-month sentence when Boucher pleaded guilty and appealed the punishment handed down in the case by Special Judge Marianne Battani, arguing that what Boucher received was too lenient given the extent of Paul’s injuries.

Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled in favor of the government, reversing Boucher’s 30-day sentence and remanding the case back to U.S. District Court and Battani for another sentencing hearing.

Before that could be scheduled, though, Boucher and his attorney, Matt Baker, asked the Supreme Court to hear his appeal, petitioning the court in November to consider whether a resentencing hearing violates Boucher’s rights to due process and protecting him against double jeopardy.

“Here, (Boucher) has served every bit of a perfectly legal sentence,” Baker said in the petition. “He now faces the horrifying prospect of having to go back to prison to serve an additional sentence for the very same offense to which he pled guilty and accepted his punishment. This is simply intolerable by anyone’s standards of the application of double jeopardy and fundamental principles of due process.”

In the petition, Baker argued that Boucher gave up his right to appeal when he pleaded guilty and the government implicitly waived its appeal rights as well, meaning both sides should have been legally bound by Battani’s ruling imposing the 30-day sentence.

Both sides were allowed to argue for a specific punishment at the 2018 sentencing hearing. Baker urged Battani to place Boucher on probation, while federal prosecutors asked for 21 months.

The Supreme Court on Dec. 9 requested a response from the U.S. Solicitor General, which argues cases on behalf of the federal government before the high court.

On Dec. 31, the court extended the deadline for a response from Jan. 8 to Friday, and the second extension was granted Jan. 31.

Supreme Court rules hold that four of the nine sitting justices must vote to accept a case for review.

– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.

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